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McCalls M7969

I feel like McCalls M7969 needs no introduction. Every now and again a pattern comes along that the whole sewing community goes crazy for, and this dress is one of them. It’s that dress with those sleeves. Keep on reading for an explanation on why I made it without those sleeves! Sacre Bleu!

You know me – I love a good pattern bandwagon to jump onto, but last year with the pandemic and all, I didn’t have as much money to spend on patterns and fabric. Also the pattern was out of stock in my size everywhere ( and I think it is still hard to get hold of), so even if I had the money I probably wouldn’t have been able to find it!

The time came around this year when I couldn’t wait any longer, FOMO had got the better of me and one of my kind followers let me know that the pattern was in stock at Ahakhan. I didn’t even know that Abakhan sold patterns! Of course I charged over to their website, and it was indeed available at that time. Before I knew it, it was in my basket and on it’s way to me. Phew.

So many beautiful variations with this pattern.

The style of the dress is supposed to be ‘very loose fitting’ according to the pattern envelope description, but I didn’t want it to feel too relaxed as this look can sometimes overwhelm me as I’m only 5’2″. My size put me in the ‘Medium’ size range for this pattern, but I wondered if the ‘Small’ might give me the fit that I was going for. My measurements are 34-29-38. The dress comes with sleeve, ruffle and length variations so it has something for everyone. Unfortunately this pattern doesn’t cover all sizes in a single pattern. You choose either the size XS – MED or the L – XXL. This is frustrating if you find yourself in the MED -L size range as you have to make a decision on which size pattern to go for.

To check the fit before cutting into my ‘good’ fabric I made a toile in the small size out of an old sheet. This was important not only to check the fit, but also to see how the fabulous massive sleeve would look on my frame. I cut one of the large puffy sleeves (view A sleeve) and one of the narrower sleeves (view B and C), to see which I liked better.

The big sleeve just felt too big for my frame, also it made me look very wide across the shoulders from the back. When I attached the slimmer, shorter sleeve to the other arm it felt much more comfortable and I liked how it looked when I roughly gathered it up with a gathering thread. Rather than gathering it into a cuff as I normally would I added some clear elastic to the inside which creates a nice little ruffle edge. Also TBH if I had made the big sleeves I would be forever catching them in door handles. You know what I mean all you statement sleeve lovers out there πŸ˜‰

Take a shot each time I say sleeve! πŸ˜‰

The sleeve is a raglan style and gathers really beautifully at the shoulder so that it fits into the bias tape neckline edge. It really is a beautiful feature of the dress.

After machine stitching the bias neckband tape in place around the neck edge, I hand stitched it on the inside, as recommended in the instructions. You could use the ‘stitch in the ditch’ method with your machine if you’re not a fan of hand sewing. After making my toile I decided NOT to interface the bias neckline tape again. Maybe my medium weight interfacing was just too heavy, but I was certainly glad I left it out for my second version as it was much easier to fold and my neckband edge has still held it’s shape beautifully. I added a couple of stitches on the wrong side of the dress where the crossover meets just to make sure it stays in place where I want it to.

Have you even been to a National Trust property if you haven’t had your pic taken in one of their wonderful doorways?

The dress length on my toile was just a smidge too short for me, so before cutting out this dress again I added 1.5″ to the skirt length. Not much but it makes all the difference to me and my wrinkly old knees.

Sadly pockets aren’t included in this pattern so I simply added my own using a pocket pattern piece from another pattern.

My fawn gingham fabric is also from Abakhan. I wrongly assumed that this was a cotton gingham when I bought it, but it has some polyester content in it. Silly me for not checking carefully enough. Never mind, not quite exactly what I had in mind, but not the end of the world.

I am blown away by just how much I love how this dress turned out. Sometimes those raised waist dresses can be a little unflattering for those of us with a bit of a bigger bust, but I really like where the waist seam sits on me – especially at the back for some reason. I also adore the subtle shape of the neckline at the back – that beautiful curved dip is adorable

The fawn/cream gingham print looks wonderful with gold coloured jewellery, so I accessorised this dress with the gold button necklace from my shop.

Thanks to my husband Mick for patiently taking these pictures on our 24th wedding anniversary trip to Coughton Court this week.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy @sew_dainty x

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Fibre Mood Dolly.

It’s that time again – Fibre Mood 15 Magazine is out today, and I was lucky enough to take a peek at the patterns a few weeks ago and choose one to make and share with you *

As usual there is a great choice of patterns in the magazine – dresses, tops, trousers and skirts, but as always I was drawn towards the dresses and I eventually opted to make Dolly.

Dolly is a simple loose fitting A-line dress with elbow length puffed raglan sleeves (gathered at the cuff), and a gathered neckline with a statement bow to finish it off. The finished dress length is always your choice of course (as a dressmaker) and I cut this version the exact length of the pattern piece without alteration which you can see hits me just above the knee. I’m 5’2″ for reference. I think maybe I will lengthen the dress next time I make it by a couple of inches.

It also has pockets πŸ™‚

As mentioned Dolly has a loose cut. My measurements put me into the ‘Small’ size band, but looking at the pattern measurements compared to mine, I decided to size down and cut a size XS as this would still give me plenty of room without the risk of swamping me. I’m so pleased that I did this as I feel the fit is just what I was after. My measurements are 34-29-38 btw.

Ever since I made my black Cassie dress last year I knew I wanted more black Summer dresses in my wardrobe. Something casual that I could pair with trainers or sandals and maybe a straw hat and bag. After ruling out anything in my stash, I came across this pretty cotton lawn swiss dot from Plush Addict. It’s fairly sheer, so I will wear it with a slip.

The dress was nice and quick to cut out and fairly easy to sew. Fibre Mood rate this as a 2/5 in terms of difficulty. The only part that I had to fiddle around with to get it right was the v-neck facing. I always feel nervous about snipping into a v-neck facing before turning it through as you really have to snip right up to the stitching to enable it to lay flat, and I never do it close enough first time. After a second teeny snip I turned it through again and a nice steamy press meant the v-neck lay flat without any puckers (well, maybe a teeny tiny one that nobody will notice on the black fabric, but that’s between you and me only)!

This pattern is sewn with a 1 cm seam allowance.

I like the length of the sleeves and that they are gathered into a sweet narrow cuff band. The opening of the cuff band was just right, and means that the sleeves don’t pull the whole dress up when reaching up for things!

I chose to style this dress with my latest necklace design – the Thimble Necklace, Veja trainers, old straw hat and an old bag from Matalan.

I love the width of the neck bow. I’m not sure that I like the placement of it though. It is attached to the neck opening just below where the neckline bias tape ends. I’m not sure I’m that keen of that placement as it sits below the neckline by approx 1 cm, rather than being a seamless extension of the neckline. Maybe next time I might raise the height of the neck ties. We’ll see.

The gathered neckline continues all the way around the back too.

Last but not least, I really wanted a straw had with black ribbon to complete this look. As I didn’t have one I decided to alter my trusty straw hat with brown ribbon by adding a length of black grosgrain ribbon over the top of the brown ribbon. This is held in place with a few stitches and can easily be removed when I want the original colour back! See the before and after below!

Same hat, different ribbon colour

I’m absolutely delighted with the Dolly. It fits the bill with the vibe that I was going for, and think it would be amazing in a chambray, gingham or seersucker too don’t you think?

* Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted my choice of the Dolly pattern by Fibre Mood to sew and share. As always my review is honest and all opinions are entirely my own. This post contains some affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you click through and purchase something that I have linked to.  I only accept the free pattern from Fibre Mood when there is a design that I truly love. Thank you x

Thanks for dropping by. Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to keep up with everything that I am up to! x

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A Darling Ranges Dress from Megan Nielsen

Just a brief one today guys, it’s time for another post on the Minerva site, and today I’m talking about my very first Darling Ranges shirt dress from Megan Nielsen.

As a Minerva Brand Ambassador, this beautiful 100% cotton floral fabric was very kindly gifted in exchange for a blog post on their site, so do head on over to the post here to read all about it.

Hope you love it!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Barra Button Back Top from Greyfriars and Grace.

Today’s blog post is a little bit different and one that I hope a few of you will find quite interesting.

Greyfriars and Grace are a ‘new to me’ pattern company founded by a lovely lady called Fiona, which designs and sells sewing patterns with an environmental focus. Most patterns have the option to use existing garments or textiles therefore combining sewing and recycling unwanted clothing and textiles. Such a smart idea as I’m sure that most of us have some idea of the dangerous impact that fast fashion is having on the planet.

Fiona has very kindly sent me this pattern to try with no obligation to post or share. But I am doing so today as I thought that you might like to know about this unique idea. I think it’s pretty cool, and hope you will too.

The pattern that I chose to take a look at is the Barra Button Back Top.

Image from Greyfriars and Grace.

This pattern enables you to make this button back top in two ways – one is to cut it out of fabric in the regular way – you can add the button band from an existing shirt as the closure to save you having to add all those buttons/buttonholes yourself, and you can use the cuffs for sweet little sleeves and add a hem ruffle if you wish!

The second option is to make it (as I did) simply by using an old shirt. Nothing else needed – just a reel of thread!

(Cropped wide leg trousers are the Tilly and the Buttons Safiya trousers from Tilly’s ‘Make it Simple’ book).

For those of you reading that live in the UK and are loving The Great British Sewing Bee on the TV, it’s a bit like the ‘transformation challenge’ where you are given an old shirt and have to cut it and make it into something else in a ridiculously short amount of time. Well, these patterns are like that, but WITH a pattern!! (and you can take your time to sew it too)! Ha! Sadly without the presence of Patrick Grant peering over your shoulder though. *sighs*

The shirt that I used was from the local charity shop and was a man’s 18″ collar shirt originally from Next, which I bought for Β£3.

The pattern includes colour photographs, illustrations and written instructions, and they were very clear to follow. In no time at all I had cut my top out using the pattern pieces (just two pattern pieces – shirt front and shirt back). I am very much a visual learner and the images contained in the instructions helped me understand where to place the pattern pieces with no problems at all.

The back of the old shirt had a couple of vertical darts to give it some shape, which I unpicked and pressed out flat before cutting out to ensure that I had the maximum fabric possible and that there were no unsightly darts running up and down what would effectively be the front of my new top.

The only pattern marking that I needed to trace off was the bust dart which I was interested to see were positioned pointing down from the armholes rather than the usual position from the side seams below the arms.

The sleeves are used to make the bias tape which finishes off the neckline and armholes. There are instructions to show you how to do this, so don’t worry if you’re not sure. You could also use shop bought bias for a pop of contrast if you prefer. I made plenty of tape by using the sleeve fabric and still have some leftover to put in my stash for another project in the future.

The Barra Button Back Top was ever so easy to sew up, and nice and quick to make too. I had very little left over of the original shirt – just the collar and some tiny pieces of fabric. I have saved a couple of buttons from the top of the original shirt which was not needed, and also some buttons from each cuff to use another time on another project. The rest of the leftovers will be added to my box of scrap fabrics which I might use as filling for a pouffe that I hope to get around to making at some point.

The pattern size range is XS – XXXL which is a UK size 8 – 20 ( US 4 – 16). I made a size small (UK 10). My measurements are 34-29-38 and I am 5’2″ in height. I have tucked the front into my trousers for most of these shots as it is a little longer than I expected it to be. Next time I make it I shall shorten the length a little so that it ends up as an almost cropped length and hits the same point on my body as it does in the model in the pattern image who I am guessing must be much much taller than I am!

Untucked!

Pink acrylic button necklace is available from my shop x

The only teeny addition that I had to make was to add a buttonhole right at the top of the button band. As you might be able to see from an earlier image in this blog (the picture with the orange scissors)! the neckline was cut right at the point of where a button and hole was positioned. In order to sew the bias tape around the neckline I had to remove the button, sew the tape into place, and afterwards simply sew a new button hole and re-sew the button in it’s new position. No bother, or you could add a little press stud, popper, hook and eye, velcro etc if you don’t fancy sewing a buttonhole.

Oh and here is the before and after!

I do hope that you might find a chance to take a look over the Greyfriars and Grace website, and find that you are as inspired by their environmental options as I have been.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Another Hinterland Dress and a necklace launch!

Just a brief one today guys. Things have been a bit crazy here over the last couple of weeks, and not much sewing has been taking place. I’ve been a little tied up with a new item of sewing themed jewellery going live in the shop, but more about that later..

The only piece of sewing that I did manage to make is another version of the Hinterland Dress. I loved the last one that I made so much I wanted to make another one, but this time with short sleeves and a narrow waist tie.

I am so lucky to be part of the Minerva Brand Ambassador team, and knew that the latest fabric that they had kindly sent me would make the perfect Summer version of this pretty dress. This stunning lilac striped lined cotton blend is beautifully soft and comfortable to wear and I know it’s going to be perfect when warm weather eventually arrives!

If you head on over to the Minerva site here you can see more detailed pics of the dress, and the full review that I wrote for them, in exchange for this beautiful fabric.

Sooooo, the other thing that has been keeping me busy is the arrival of the latest member of the #sewdaintyjewellery family.

This silver thimble necklace is the perfect treat to yourself of gift to a loved one who is a fan of dressmaking, quilting and all things sewing related and you can find them over in my shop right here.

Oh and I purchased these adorable resin buttons from Ethel and Joan a while back. Don’t the gorgeous flecks in these handmade buttons look adorable with the lilac fabric!

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Hinterland Dress from Sew Liberated.

You know when you make a dress, and you let out a little squeal when you first try it on because you love it so much. Well, this ..

If I’m honest, I totally love most dresses that I have made – I wouldn’t be making them if I didn’t love their style and the fabric that I have lovingly cut and sewn together to create the image that I had in my head before I started. But this dress is another level.

The Hinterland Dress from Sew Liberated is a timeless classic design. The loose fitting silhouette can be mixed and matched to your own choice with options including sleeve lengths, placket length choices along with optional waist ties and those all important in-seam pockets.

Line drawings from Sew Liberated

Things that impressed me about this pattern right from the get-go …

The size range for this pattern is 0-34. Yes you read that right. This accommodates bust sizes from 31″ – 58.5″

The dress is part of a capsule collection and there are numerous patterns available on the Sew Liberated site that it can be paired with. (All very tempting too I might add).

After reading about the founder Meg McElwee, I can’t help admire her values and the business that she has built upon them.

Ok, back to the dress. First up let me tell you that I made a straight size 8. My measurements are 34-29-38, and I am 5’2″. As you see I chose to make the 3/4 length sleeves, and the bodice-only placket version.

I wanted to keep the colour palette neutral, so my fabric choice was a bargain beige tencel from Rainbow Fabrics. I’ll link it here as it is in stock now as I type, but beware, there is a high turnover of fabric in this store – fabrics just fly off the shelves!

This is the first pattern from Sew Liberated that I have sewn and I can’t fault it. It’s thorough, easy to understand with clear written instructions and drawings, and is a great advanced beginner pattern for those that want to challenge themselves with buttonholes, bias facings, bust darts and inset sleeves.

It was important to me that the bodice fitted nicely and felt comfortable, so before I started I made a quick toile of the bodice only to see how it looked. I noticed that it had a slightly gaping back neckline, so I knew that I needed to make a small gaping back neckline adjustment to my pattern piece which was no problem to do. There are several tutorials online which give great instructions on how to rectify this common fitting issue.

The bodice neckline is finished with a bias strip. Rather than using the dress fabric for this, I used a strip of bias tape that I had made myself with some ditsy floral cotton leftover from a previous project. I have lots of this in my stash, and is my favourite way of ensuring that no fabric ever gets wasted.

A cheeky little floral pop of colour for the bias facing.

No details are left out, and the sleeves are finished with a sweet little cuff piece. How sweet would this cuff be in a different fabric ? (like the ditsy floral that I used for the neck facing) – I must try that another time! Talking of the sleeves, they went in effortlessly leaving a smooth shoulder seam with no puckering. I chose to add 5 buttons to the placket. (The pattern recommends either 4 or 5).

Also let’s not forget the lovely in-seam pockets. I raised the height of the pockets by 1″ BTW.

The waist tie is quite a statement from the back I think. It’s fairly wide and I wasn’t too sure that I would like this width. However now that I have seen these pics I feel that the width of the tie is very much in proportion with the dress – especially with this sleeve length. I am currently sewing my next Hinterland (yup, that’s how much I like this dress), and because I am making that version with short sleeves in a softer fabric, I might try making the tie a little narrower so as not to overwhelm it from the back view. We’ll see.

The final thing that I wanted to mention, is that I thought that I would try a ‘blind hem’ technique for the hem of the skirt. I actually don’t think that I have ever tried this before, as it looks a little bit tricky. I recently purchased a new sewing machine and noticed that it had a blind hem foot, so there’s no time like the present, and voila – it was really quite straightforward.

The video tutorial that I watched before giving it a go is this one from Made to Sew. It was really easy to follow.

Oh, I guess I should admit that I bought the hat first … and made the dress to go with it! I think I might have been a teeny bit inspired by one of the sample pictures on the Sew Liberated site. Ha! The Fedora is from T.K Maxx.

Thanks as always to my very patient husband for taking a million photographs at the beautiful Whatton House Gardens in Leicestershire.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Follow me over on Instagram @sew_dainty

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The Tula/Hemlock combo – a lounge set of dreams.

Despite the arrival of Spring, it’s still Baltic here in the UK, so I am certainly not ready to give up cosy loungewear yet.

What I did want however was to make a more stylish set than what I currently reach for when it’s the end of the day and I just want to throw on the comfies. You don’t even want to know what my current loungewear looks like – I’ll give you an idea – it’s oversized fleecy pyjamas that are several years old and several sizes too big for me too. Not a great look but I must admit that when I throw those ridiculous pyjamas on, wash my face and pop on some face oil, it’s like magic. Aaaand breathe….

Instagram has fed me images of pastel coloured cashmere loungewear sets for far too long, and now was the time to do something about it. Whilst cashmere is not in my budget, I took a chance on this marl pink melange from eBay, and I was not disappointed. I like the subtle dark shade of pink, it washes beautifully and was easy to sew with.

The trouser pattern that I picked is The Tula Pants from Papercut Patterns. This is a new release from Papercut and as soon as I saw it I jumped right on it – which is unusual for me as I almost always wait for a sale to come around before I purchase any pattern! For some time I had been searching for the discontinued Amina Pants from Papercut as I had seen so many lovely versions, however this pattern seems to be their replacement, so it’s all ended well.

Line drawings from Papercut Patterns x

The great thing about this pattern is that you can make it in either woven or knit fabric, there is a wide or tapered leg choice, and there are shorts too!

Elasticated waists all round – hooray! Pockets, yes please! and a faux fly and ankle cuffs if you like too, yee ha!

This pattern is available in a size range of 1-8 (UK 6-20). My measurements at the moment are 34-29-38, and I made a straight size 4 (UK 12).

I thought that they would be a super quick pattern to sew, but actually there is more to them than I had considered. The pockets and faux fly are not quick (but not difficult either). The pocket construction is enjoyable and I like how it looks. I chose to stitch a couple of rows through the waistband elastic (optional) as this keeps it neat and in place and I liked the buttonholes that are sewn into the waistband so that you can quickly slip through a length of cord/fabric to create a faux drawstring tie. So many lovely details.

I would like to mention that these are the full leg length with no pattern alterations. I chose not to cuff the ankles, but was surprised that they were not longer (not that I needed them longer), as I am only 5’2″ and I always have to shorten trousers. Bear that in mind if you have beautiful long legs unlike me! I imagine that I will usually wear these rolled up a little, kind of 7/8th length.

I already have some grey sweatshirt fabric lined up to make another pair, more like joggers, sweatpants, trakkies .. whatever you call them, with a cuffed ankle probably. I also would like to sew a wide leg version in linen for the Summer so watch out!

For the top I chose the Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee. I’ve linked it here on the Grainline website where it is available for $5.00, but it is also available as a free pattern if you are signed up the the Grainline newsletter πŸ˜‰

This pattern is available is sizes 0-30.

Image from the Grainline Studio Blog.

This pattern is an old favourite and has been around for quite a while but was updated a couple of years ago to give the maker some more style and size choices. I made the mid length version with full length sleeves, but you can also mix and match between short or long sleeves and the lengths are also available in a cropped or tunic length if this is your preference.

I made a size 6.

The pattern is a drapey dropped shoulder tee/tunic and is the sort of top that I reach for all the time. It’s suitable for a beginner, and you can whip one up in no time at all. The instructions are clear and helpful and it’s just the style that I was looking for to complete my lounge set.

The dark grey acrylic scissors necklace is available in my shop x

I wonder if I should leave it how it is or grab my Happy Fabric vinyl and add a design to the front? We’ll see.

Hope you like this set, it’s a little different to what I normally sew, but I’m glad that the photos for this blog are now taken so that I can relax and actually wear it!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Follow me over on Instagram @sew_dainty

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The Adrienne Blouse from Friday Pattern Company.

The Adrienne Blouse from Friday Pattern Company is (described in their words) ‘a knit top with billowy statement sleeves that are gathered up at the shoulders and hems with elastic. The length is slightly cropped with the hem hitting just below your bellybutton’. Very nice.

Line drawing from Friday Pattern Company.

I’ve been sitting on the fence about this pattern for a while. I wasn’t sure that the style was very ‘me’ if I’m honest, and I was worried that the voluminous sleeves might swamp me as I’m only 5’2″, (thinking that the impression of excess width might make me look smaller).

It wasn’t until I read a blog post by lovely Sarah here that I realised that the pattern has adjustment markings on the sleeve piece that enables you to alter the fullness of the sleeve easily before cutting it out! When I realised how easy it was, i was ON IT!

I slimmed the sleeve down by 4″. This has resulted in the perfect sleeve width for me and now I am asking myself why I held back in the first place – I really like it! I feel like the sleeves are still statement – just not shouting as loudly!

The pattern was really quick to cut out ( such a chore don’t you think – especially when you are matching stripes), as there are only three pattern pieces – the bodice ( same piece for both the front and the back), the sleeve and the neck band. I used the same fabric for the neckline band, but it would be super lovely cut from ribbing fabric.

My measurements are 34-29-38 and I cut the size medium.

I liked the construction of the blouse – especially how the sleeves are gathered at the top with elastic before they are attached to the bodice. The pattern gives you recommended elastic length suggestions, but I actually sized down my elastic lengths (for the sleeve head and the cuffs) and cut the ‘small’ length in the elastic for both. For me this is just right!

Something that confuses me a little is how different the neckline looks on different people’s makes. When searching the hashtag #adrienneblouse on Instagram, I noticed that some of the necklines seem to sit higher (like mine) and some are really much lower. The sample used for the pattern itself also shows it as being much lower cut than my version. I can only guess that this might be due to the amount of stretch in your neckband piece?

The cuff openings are generous (even when using the ‘small’ size recommended length), however I’m glad that I didn’t just measure my wrists and make my own length as I would have been tempted to cut the elastic smaller, and this opening as it is allows the sleeve to slide up and down your arms easily when reaching out for things. One of my pet hates is feeling restricted by tight cuffs when you lift your arms up.

Oh, I also would not consider this a cropped length at all on little old me. I cut the pattern length as it is, and it feels neither short nor long. Kind of t-shirt length if that makes any sense!

The fabric that I used was a lovely jersey knit which I picked up from a #sewbrum sewing meet-up a couple of years ago, from the fabric swap table. Thank you so much to whoever dropped this generous length into the swap because in additon to making this blouse it has also made the Tilly and the Buttons Tabitha dress that I blogged about here.

And there’s more…

You know that cheeky little half metre of so of jersey that you always seem to have left but is not enough to make another garment? Well what about cutting it into strips to make t-shirt yarn and crocheting yourself a little basket?

Ta dah!!

Initially I wasn’t quite sure how to make my leftover KNIT fabric into continuous strips of t-shirt yarn ( I really didn’t want to have joins in it if at all possible), and despite knowing how to do this with woven fabric to make bias binding, I knew it would be slightly different with a knit fabric. Luckily I came across this youTube tutorial here and it worked! Thank you @thediymommy

Whilst I was over on youTube I came across this tutorial by GratiaProject which shows how you can use the ‘cross stitch single crochet’ stitch to make a basket using t-shirt yarn. I have never even heard of this stitch so I was ALL OVER IT! Let’s learn something new why not? Turns out the tutorial is fabulous, the stitch is really easy, and even though the stripes in the fabric make the stitch quite hard to make out I hope that you can kind of see the pretty cross pattern that it made. Thank you @gratiaproject_crochet and when I get a chance I would love to make another in a plain knit fabric yarn so that the stitches are easier to see.

I have a small amount of yarn left, to crochet into a little project another time, but I feel that using almost every scrap of this fabric has been so satisfying, especially as it was ‘donated’ in the first place. I’m chuffed with my new blouse and basket, and the sun is shining as I type this. What more could you ask for? πŸ™‚

Do search #adrienneblouse on social media if you are looking for more inspiration.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A classic Little Black Dress

Something that my handmade wardrobe is seriously lacking is a classic LBD.

Despite my usual preference of dresses with florals, bows, ties and ruffles, this time I wanted to make more of an elegant simple style with no frills.

I also wanted a dress that was quick to make and didn’t use much fabric.

The Pattydoo Marie seemed to fit the bill perfectly, and as I had only made this dress once before it was perhaps about time that I gave it another go.

The Pattydoo Marie dress is a very simple sleeveless dress pattern with a round neck, and princess seams at the front and back which form the most adorable pleats just below your waist. I wrote a blog about the first version that I made here back in August 2018, and whilst I loved lots about it, I didn’t enjoy the fact that it was sleeveless and disliked my fabric choice.

The Marie Dress from Pattydoo. Line drawing is from the Pattydoo website.

For this version I added short sleeves from another Pattydoo dress that I have (The Chloe dress), and this worked out perfectly. I feel much more comfortable in a garment with sleeves these days.

I also cut the hemline straight again, as I don’t think a shaped hem suits me.

So this is where things might get a teeny bit confusing. Stay with me. Pattydoo are a German pattern company, and unfortunately I don’t speak a word of German. When you visit their website you can click on an English version, but this only has a handful of patterns available on it, (and they are not ones that I want). This is not a problem though because most of the German patterns all have the most excellent sew-along videos which are easy to follow visually despite being spoken in German. The sew-along for the Marie dress is here.

I’ve been holding out for a sleeve add-on pack for the Marie dress but here’s the thing that I’ve just noticed on the Pattydoo site – they now make an Eliza Dress. This looks exactly like the Marie, but with sleeves! So it looks to me like instead of creating an add-on sleeve pattern for the Marie, they have just released pretty much the same pattern but with sleeve variations, and called it a different name. The pattern comes with 3 sleeve lengths. The only difference that I can see is that the Eliza has a straight hemline, whereas the Marie’s hemline is shaped. I can’t find a sew-along video for the Eliza dress, but I would just use the one for the Marie dress linked above and insert the sleeves before sewing up the side/underarm seams.

This is the Eliza Dress. Line drawings from the Pattydoo website.

By the way, did I mention that Pattydoo PDF’s are only 2.99 Euros!!

I used a black scuba (I can’t remember where from) for my dress, which of course holds the pleats at the waist beautifully. I think this dress would look pretty in a french terry or a ponte too, if scuba is not your vibe.

The dress front and back pattern pieces are quite an unusual shape, I don’t think that I have another dress that has a pattern shaped like this!

The neckline is just a simple ‘turn over and sew down’ although you could draft a neckline facing easily enough if that is your preferred method. I used a twin needle to finish the neckline, sleeves and hem.

Seaglass necklace from @lilypad_jewellery

As expected, black is the most difficult colour to photograph. I have done my best to show you the details where possible, but I’m pretty sure that now that I know that I can add sleeves to it, I will want to make more – in colours that will photograph more easily!

The back of the dress has the same princess lines as the front, which gives you the most lovely dress shape all the way around, and gives you a kind of tulip shape.

I’m not sure if you can tell, but there are no fastenings to this dress – it’s a good ol’ pull on and off over the head situation! Win win.

One last look at those pleats before I go …

What is your ‘go-to’ classic timeless dress pattern?

Take care, I’ll be back soon

Kathy x

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The Sydni Shirt-Dress from Sew To Grow

This blog post is just a brief glimpse into my latest make. As it is made using fabric kindly gifted by Minerva. I have written my full post over on their blog and you can whizz over to read the full post here.

I chose to use this stunning Lady McElroy cotton lawn which you can see features a busy floral print on a dark navy background. It’s fairly light weight so it might have to wait to be worn until the weather gets warmer, but I look forward to that day as it turned out super cute don’t you think.

Back to the Sydni Shirt Dress. It’s a dress and shirt pattern featuring optional front pleated pockets. You can decide if you want to make a collar on both versions, and the dress has those all important in-seam pockets and a tie belt. Both versions also have a dipped shaped hem at the back. The size range on this pattern is great too, starting at an XS through to 4XL (see measurement chart below). This pattern was very kindly sent to me by the Sew to Grow team, and I love how it has turned out.

The collar is optional on both the dress and the top.

Lilac acrylic scissors necklace from my shop x

The deep in-seam pockets are a must in my opinion, and I love the slim belt and belt ties that are sewn into the side seam.

I kept the hem horizontal all the way around rather than keeping the dropped curved hem at the back. The side slits are a pretty and useful feature.

Thank you so much to both Minerva and Sew to Grow, who between them have provided me the tools to create such a pretty dress. As mentioned before, lots more detail can be found on the Minerva blog. See you over there!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

#sewnshownseated